Which hand do you use?

By Rick Madeja - December 1, 2003
Now before you think that I have gone mad or that you have entered the wrong web site please read on!

I am right handed! In fact if I even tried to write my name with my left hand there is no telling what it would say, that is why I use only left hand crank reels, if this makes no sense to you please let me explain!

Almost thirty years ago when I was first learning to use level wind bait casting reels my father told me that if I could get accustomed to using left hand crank reels I would become a more efficient fisherman! I really did not understand what he meant at the time! I only knew that my Mitchell 308 spinning reel had the handle on the left hand side so it just felt natural for me to crank with my left hand.

When I went to purchase my first bait caster back in 1977 there were not many left hand crank reels to choose from! The reels with the handle on the left side were only the better or "High-End" models, if I remember correctly I paid well over $100.00 for my first Ambassadeur 5001C. That was a lot of money for a 13-year-old kid to spend! But I still have that reel and although it looks its age (like we all don't) it still works just fine.

Today if you were to look in my rod box you would not find a single right hand crank reel! It's not just because I learned that way either, I feel that by cranking with my left hand it lets me fish more effectively! I have never been able to master casting with my left hand; in fact I have accidentally thrown a few rods in the lake trying to learn! If you are right handed and have mastered casting with your left congratulations!

Does this sound efficient to you? You cast with your right hand and then switch hands and put the rod in your left hand you crank the handle with your right hand and then at the end of your cast switch back and put the rod in your right hand and start the process all over again, think about all of the time and movement that is wasted! I got tired just typing the process.

Saving time is not the only reason I fish this way! I feel that I get a better hook set with my right arm or even better if I can get both hands on the rod. I also like to fight the fish with my strong arm. I also believe that in certain situations a fish could be lost in the time it takes to move the rod from one hand to the other!

If you are Bass fishing and you are "Flippn and Pitchn" and you pitch to a likely spot the fish sometimes will strike as soon as the bait hits the water and if you are in the middle of switching the rod from one hand to the other you might miss that fish. One missed fish might not seem like a big deal but if you are competing in a tournament it might mean the difference in earning a check or if the bite is very tuff, getting skunked!

If you are fishing in heavy wood cover it is important to get the fishes head turned out of the cover on the hook set. A fish will swim as hard as it can once it realizes it is hooked! If you get it's head pointed out of the cover instead of into the cover most of the time they will swim right out and away from the wood. I feel that by casting, pitching or flipping and working the bait and setting the hook with my dominant arm I have an advantage!

Don't just practice out on the water either, spend some time casting out in your yard or go to a park and cast there, if there is a pond or lake near by go and fish from shore and practice you casting skills. Denny Brauer a Bassmasters Classic champion used to practice his pitching and flipping skills right in his living room, he would flip and pitch a jig to a spot under one of his wife's house plants, he said that she was not impressed because the jig would beat up the plant and the drywall behind it. But with Denny earning over $1000,000 in career tournament winnings I think she got over it.

Today there are many different manufactures that offer quality left hand crank bait casters and they are not just the "High End" models either, there are some very good reels available at a reasonable price. Check out one of the Sport shows that will be held this winter. Most of the reel manufactures will have a booth with all of their products for you to view or try and when you find what you are looking for there will also be retailers at these shows where you can purchase these reels. And of course don't forget to stop by the Lake-Link booth and say hello to the boys!

Author Rick Madeja

Rick Madeja
Rick Madeja is an advid Illinois angler, tourmament fisherman and family man (wife Rose and three children; Melissa, Amanda and Ricky). Rick is a pro staffer of G. Loomis and is a team leader for Turning Point Propellers. Rick writes independantly for Big Bucks Bass, The Pro Fish Club News and Lake-Link.com. You can also see him occasionally laboring at Ed Shirley's Sports in Morton Grove, IL.

Rick finished 2nd place in the April 28th Big Bucks Bass Buddie tournament held on the Fox-Chain.
Finished 4th in the June 9th Northland Bass Buddie tounament held on the Fox-Chain.
Fininshed 19th in the Northland Bass Northstar classic (Championship) Held June 17th-21st out of Winneconne Wisconsin.